Dec 04, 2015

    HDB resale dip due to year-end slowdown, BTO launch

    FEWER Housing Board (HDB) flats changed hands last month amid a quiet resale market.

    But experts said this was due to seasonal factors and the bumper launch of new flats in the same month, rather than a lack of buyers.

    According to SRX Property flash figures yesterday, 1,467 flats changed hands last month, down from 1,745 in October.

    The lower resale volume was expected due to the HDB's launch of more than 12,000 Build-to-Order (BTO) and balance flats, including 2,139 BTO units in the sought-after new estate of Bidadari, said experts.

    The year-end period is also traditionally slower, noted R'ST Research director Ong Kah Seng.

    The fall is thus not indicative of a broader trend, said experts.

    ERA Realty key executive officer Eugene Lim noted that despite the month-on-month fall, resale volume was still up 8.7 per cent from the 1,350 flats resold in the same period last year.

    "This is a clear sign that, increasingly, more buyers are attracted to the resale market as prices have largely stabilised," he said.

    Resale prices edged up 0.4 per cent last month, which experts said was part of a continued picture of market stability.

    "We do not read this as a rebound in resale HDB flat prices," said Mr Lim, describing it as a "seasonal fluctuation".

    The resale market has seen minor fluctuations this year of less than 1 per cent month-on-month, according to SRX figures.

    PropNex Realty described HDB resale prices as "reaching a consolidation phase". They have fallen by less than 2 per cent for the year so far, compared to the full-year fall of over 6 per cent last year.

    Last month's price rise was driven by larger flats, with resale prices rising 0.5 per cent for four-roomers and 1.4 per cent for five-roomers.

    But Mr Ong does not expect prices for these larger flats to hold, as more executive condominiums and private homes are being completed.

    HDB upgraders are often four- or five-room owners who will now have to offload their flats, and the increase in resale supply of larger flats will thus hold prices down, he said.

    As for three-room and executive flats, their prices fell 0.7 per cent and 0.2 per cent respectively. But the resale price increase was across both mature and non-mature estates, where prices rose 0.4 per cent and 0.3 per cent respectively.

    Looking ahead to next year, experts do not expect prices to pick up if cooling measures remain unchanged.

    PropNex Realty expects prices to stay flat next year, though there is a possibility of a 1 to 2 per cent rise.